Friday, January 17, 2014

On writing

I am a writer the way you call a bookworm a "reader" and an unfussy toddler a good "eater". In the parlance of my friend Charlie in the early '00s, I write all the fuck time, you guys. Instead of using a proper word processor, I use my Gmail drafts folder, where (I just checked!) currently dwell 295 drafts of God-knows-what. I just found a thing titled "How to forgive the dumb animal of yourself" and "How not to refer to your friend's newborn baby"? If someone wanted to bloodlessly kill me they need only hack into my Gmail, publish all my drafts, and watch as I gasped and choked and eventually expired from the lethal injection of shame.

I have been for many years out of the practice of writing things down on paper. In my early adulthood there are two occasions that ever move me to do this: 1. I'm on vacation and I don't have my computer and I am documenting my trip and processing the thoughts I allow to materialize once freed from the blinders of my routine and cultural reality and 2. I am having an existential crisis and feel certain that I will feel as leaden and worthless forever as I feel at the moment that I reach for some scratch paper and a pen as an analgesic.

In the purple pre-dawn hours on New Year's Day, I had an experience that was cinematic yet mundane yet completely private and I started writing about it in my head on my run later that day.

What I did instead of trying to dunk the whole thing in prose, was boil it down to three bare sentences in my journal, in the service of preserving it quickly and to jog the memory of my future self. Every few days since then, I've been scratching down a note or two.

I have had trouble getting to sleep since childhood. When I was young, my dad would have me write down the things I was worried about on a piece of paper right before bed and set the list on my nightstand. I'd forgotten how much better it made me feel, that small little nightly exorcism.

In the morning the list seemed so inscrutable and far away.

social studies teeth eczema dying, etc.

3 comments:

  1. Teeth? The rest make sense to me, but teeth?

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  2. I had/have messed up teeth, they stressed me out! :)

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  3. Haaa, I feel you on the notes I've written myself (constant, assuredly embarrassing) and also the teeth. Mine were very expensively fixed and a couple of days ago I saw one pop out of place. I think I want to get a retainer ($$) but I also very badly want to not care.

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